‘ALL men are free and equal born
Before the Law!’ So runs the worn
And specious, lying, parrot-cry.
All men are free—to starve or sigh;
But few to feed on Egypt’s corn.

There toils the sweated slave, forlorn;
There weeps the babe with hunger torn;
Dear God! Forgive us for the lie—
‘All men are free!’

That man may laugh while this must mourn;
One’s heir to honour, one to scorn—
Were they born free? Were you? Was I?
No! Not when born, but when they die
And of their robes—or rags—are shorn,
All men are free!

More verses by Sydney Elliott Napier

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